Tag Archives: pasta

Easy potluck pasta bake

Today was my first day of physical therapy after my knee surgery, and man was it harder than I thought it would be! I knew that working on getting my bend back would be hard, but I didn’t think trying to straighten my leg all the way would be as painful as it was. I spent over two weeks in this lovely thing…

…so my knee couldn’t bend, but it wasn’t totally straight either. So it’s kind of in this weird limbo spot where I can’t straighten it or bend it all the way! It’s a little sore since I worked the muscles in that leg more today than I have in a month, but I’m just glad that it’s slowly on the mend. I can handle some pain now if it will get me back to doing yoga! And I can’t wait to try yoga for the first time without having the knee pain that the tumor was causing. I’m hoping within the month I’ll be able to go!

Anyway, I wanted to post the recipe for the pasta bake that I mentioned yesterday. It’s really easy and completely customizable to whatever you have on hand or want to throw in it!

Potluck Pasta Bake
Adapted from Italian Food Forever 

Start by cooking your choice of short pasta. I went with just over a half box of whole grain rotini.

Then, choose what you want to put in the casserole. We used the 1 1/2 cups of diced ham suggested in the recipe. For veggies, we had a bag of frozen broccoli and a bag of frozen chopped spinach that were both almost empty, so we thawed those…

…and my sous chef chopped everything up!

While he was chopping, I sauteed 1/2 cup of onions and 2 garlic cloves in 3 Tbs of butter. Then I whisked in 3 Tbs flour and 3 cups of 1% milk until the mixture was smooth. Next, add your choice of cheese. We chose 8 oz. of shredded cheddar. Add salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. of oregano. Put the pasta back in the pot and all your chopped components.

So colorful!

Pour cheese sauce into pot and mix everything together. Transfer to a baking dish and top with  1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used panko) and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Then remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is nice and brown and crispy.

We love brown crunchy edges in this house!

This was a great dish – and I think it was even better reheated the next day! I always think that casserole type things, including baked mac and cheese, are better reheated – why is that?!?!

Things I will change next time I make this:
– Add more veggies.
– Use either a combo of different cheeses or try something other than cheddar. The cheddar was great, just not super flavorful. I think maybe some gruyere or fontina would’ve been awesome in this.
– Use less breadcrumbs. I followed the amount in the recipe, but it didn’t evenly brown on top because I think I piled the crumbs too high in some spots.
– more garlic! Because the more garlic the better. 🙂

Overall, very easy, was able to use things we had on hand, and totally customizable!

After eating this for dinner the other night, I promptly pulled this out of the freezer.

Yep. That’s leftover cookie dough from these bad boys. The coconut lime were the boyfriend’s favorite so I made a mini batch for us. They were just as good the second time around! You’d think I’d be trying to lay off the sugar after the holidays. But no. I don’t believe in deprivation. If I want sugar and don’t have it, I get grumpy. 🙂

Do you make casserole-type dishes often? Do you have a favorite or do you just throw in what you have in the kitchen? 

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under About Me, Food

I’m just going to write.

I’ve been putting off my first post of 2012 because I’m kind of a perfectionist about some things. I’ve been thinking about ways I want to evolve this blog and I haven’t posted because I haven’t fully figured out what changes I want to make. But I think I’ve realized that that’s ok. It’s my blog and it can be whatever I want it to be! It doesn’t have to be, and won’t be, perfect. Ever. So I’m just going to write!

That being said, Happy New Year! The boyfriend and I had a wonderful long weekend. We got a great deal on a new TV, filled numerous trash bags of clothes for donation, took down holiday decorations, and relaxed a lot. I also made a really yummy appetizer on Sunday that we had while we watched the Patriots game. And it’s so ridiculously easy!

Pepperoni Roll Ups
Recipe from Dinner with the Donnells
– 1 can crescent rolls
– pepperoni
– mozzarella cheese (I think shredded melts best, but string cheese works too!)

Just lay out the crescent rolls on a cookie sheet, top with 3-4 pieces of pepperoni, sprinkle with as much or as little mozzarella as you like…

…and roll ’em up! I kind of stretched the dough to seal off the ends, but nothing oozed out anyway. You might want to do this if you add more cheese. (Shout out to my brother – thanks for the new cookie sheets you gave me for Xmas! They’ve already been used many times!)

Then just bake according to the crescent roll instructions, until they’re nice and golden brown.

Mmmmm. Check out that gooey cheesy goodness.

These were so good! Not the healthiest in the world, but super easy to make and very yummy. The boyfriend’s exact words were – “These are basically heaven.” He’s a meat and cheese kinda guy. 🙂

Dinner tonight was leftover potluck pasta bake, which I’ll post the recipe for this week, and a big batch of our favorite kale chips!

What did you do for New Year’s? Did you take advantage of any sales? 

1 Comment

Filed under About Me, Food

5 ingredient pasta carbonara

Last night’s dinner was super easy and quick – 5 ingredient pasta carbonara!

We decided to roll with whole wheat linguine.

While the pasta cooked I crisped up some bacon. I tried Trader Joe’s’ ends and pieces and it worked perfectly. These are just the scraps that are typically thrown away when bacon is cut into strips. There was hardly any fat and it was really cheap (I used probably less than 1/4 of the package for this recipe!).

After draining the bacon on a paper towel, but reserving some bacon fat in the pan, I tossed the bacon and cooked pasta together.

Then I quickly poured 1 egg plus 1 yolk, whisked with salt and pepper, over the warm pasta. Because I forgot to reserve some pasta water like the recipe called for (typical that I mess something up), I added about 1/3 cup of water along with the parmesan cheese and tossed it all together.

This was an easy, quick, and delicious dish. It was creamy, salty, chewy, and satisfying. I wish I had cut the bacon up into smaller pieces, but the boyfriend said he actually liked the big chunks. Oh, and if you try this, no need to add any salt – there’s plenty in the bacon!

I halved this recipe, and got the idea from Iowa Girl Eats.

What’s your go-to easy Italian/pasta dish? Do you use whole wheat, regular, or a different type of pasta?
I’ve actually come to really prefer the taste and texture of whole wheat pasta. 

3 Comments

Filed under Food

Make this now – Prosciutto Ravioli

Ever since Kristin posted this recipe, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The ravioli recipe is one of Giada’s, but Kristin made it look even better by pairing it with garlic infused butter sauce. And shockingly, although homemade ravioli sounds like it would be complicated and time-intensive, it’s actually really easy! The trick is using wonton wrappers instead of making the dough from scratch. So I guess it’s not 100 percent homemade, but I’m taking baby steps here.

I’ve never used wonton wrappers for anything before, but these were so easy (and fun!) to make, I might start experimenting some more with them. In my grocery store they were right next to the tofu.

To make the filling, combine spinach, ricotta, prosciutto, an egg yolk, salt, and pepper (I halved Giada’s recipe and it was plenty for two of us, with some left over that we’re freezing for later).

Then you just line up your wrappers and put about 1 tsp of filling in the middle. Brush two edges of the wrapper with water and fold the other half over into a triangle. Press around the filling to get any air bubbles out, and then press the edges down to seal it.

Then, either cook them immediately or place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze them solid. I made these earlier in the day so they were frozen by dinner time. After putting them in a pot of boiling water, they probably only took 3-4 minutes to cook. The wonton wrappers are thinner than pasta dough, so keep an eye on them or they’ll start to fall apart in the water.

While those were boiling, I smashed two extra large garlic cloves and put them in a skillet with 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs olive oil. Keep it on medium-low so the garlic doesn’t burn, but you want a nice little simmer going on. I kept smashing the garlic more as it softened to get all the juices out.

When the ravioli was done, I transfered it into the skillet with a slotted spoon instead of dumping the pot into a colander so they wouldn’t fall apart. After a few minutes, it had soaked up some of the garlic butter and boyfriend and I may or may not have actually drooled into the pan.

This meal (served with a hefty side of kale chips) was to die for.

The flavors were so amazing. We didn’t even add salt, pepper, or parmesan (which I usually add to pasta before I even take a bite). This just stood on its own. And the garlic butter complemented it perfectly. The boyfriend said he wished we had more! So, first time making ravioli was a total success!

Have you ever made ravioli/pasta from scratch?

5 Comments

Filed under Food